An Introduction To Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis
Hair levels of metals may give the most accurate indication of body burden and overall exposure.
Hair analysis is extremely cost effective and also gives an indication of total metal load. This is important because one frequently finds exposure to several different metals which would not be apparent from a single blood test.
In addition to toxic metals, hair analysis can provide valuable data regarding essential trace minerals in the body. This can be extremely helpful in pinpointing nutritional levels. Hair Analysis vs. Blood and Urine Analysis Our intention was to find a biomarker that would give us the best indication of overall efficacy. We believe the best to be Total Toxic Metal Body Burden. Many others writing about chelation have published studies showing increases of a single toxin such as lead or mercury in urine and blood after being challenged by the chelator tested.
However, measurements of metals in urine and blood provide an indication of only transient changes in metal levels. Urinary levels are a reflection of how much metal is being cleared from blood by the kidneys during a relatively brief interval (hours). Blood levels tend to be transient and within hours are cleared from blood and either excreted or deposited in various tissues.
Neither urine nor blood levels provide an indication of other pathways of excretion or of reduction of total body load. While an increased urinary level of lead or mercury provides an indication that a single toxic metal is being excreted, it does not provide data regarding how many other toxic metals are present or how much residual metal is left post- chelation.
A recent study of DMSA challenge from Emory University in Atlanta revealed no correlation between past occupational exposure to mercury and mercury excretion before or after DMSA challenge. Furthermore, challenge studies incur a significant risk of serious side effects (see below) and also of kidney damage, particularly in older individuals. The best method for determining total toxic metal body burden would probably be some type of MRI spectroscopy. However, MRI for toxic metals has yet to be developed. The most reliable and cost effective method commercially available, as well as the safest, is hair analysis by a quality laboratory. Hair analysis is very well documented and referenced with respect to measuring body burden of heavy metals such as Lead, Mercury, Cadmium, and Arsenic.
The World Health Organization, the International Atomic Energy Agency, and the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency CDC, NIH and Justice Dept. have all recommended hair analysis for determination of heavy metals. .
Symptoms Associated to Toxicity
Hair Element Specimen Instructions
Collecting the hair specimen
1. A paper scale is included in this kit to assist you in collecting the proper quantity of hair. Set it up according to the directions printed on the scale or use a kitchen measuring scale.
2. Cut samples of hair from the back of the head (see illustration). stainless steel scissors, cut hair as close to the scalp as possible. It is small amounts of hair are cut from 5 or 6 areas in the back of the
3. As each piece or pinch of hair is cut from the head, save in plastic envelope.
4. Keep cutting and adding this hair to the scale card until the scale tips. This scale is designed to collect about 0.25 grams of hair.
5. Label the plastic bag with the patient’s name, gender and date of birth of patient
6. Put the hair into the plastic bag and seal.
1. Hair that has been permed, dyed, bleached, or otherwise chemically treated is vulnerable to elemental contamination. Therefore, it is recommended that treated hair is specified.
2. If hair is too short to cut, thinning shears may be used to obtain the specimen by placing them next to the scalp.
3. Do not mix head hair with pubic hair. Do not collect hair from saloon unless the collection media is clean. Use nails if hair collection is a problem.
Submit to LivingWell Center or your attending Practitioner
Hair sample will be valid for 2 months from harvest but submit ASAP.
Toxicity Screen & Nutrient Profiling
Extensive research established that scalp hair element levels are related to human systemic levels. The strength of this relationship varies for specific elements, and many researchers consider hair as the tissue of choice for toxic and several nutrient elements. Unlike blood, hair element levels are not regulated by homeostatic mechanisms. Thus, deviations in hair element levels often appear prior to overt symptoms and can thereby be a valuable preliminary tool for predicting the development of physiological abnormalities.
Why Hair ?
Hair is essentially an excretory tissue rather than a functional tissue. Hair element analysis provides important information which, in conjunction with symptoms and other laboratory values, can assist XBioLife Mentors with an early diagnosis of physiological disorders associated with aberrations in essential and toxic element metabolism.
As protein is synthesized in the hair follicle, elements are incorporated permanently into the hair with no further exchange or equilibration with other tissues. Scalp hair is easy to sample, and because it grows an average of one to two cm per month, it contains a “temporal record” of elemental metabolism and exposure to toxic elements.
Nutrient elements including magnesium, chromium, zinc, copper and selenium are obligatory co-factors for hundreds of important enzymes and also are essential for the normal functions of vitamins. The levels of these elements in hair are correlated with levels in organs and other tissues. Toxic elements may be 200-300 times more highly concentrated in hair than in blood or urine. Therefore, hair is the tissue of choice for detection of recent exposure to elements such as arsenic, aluminum, cadmium, lead, antimony, and mercury. Medical specialists’ has acknowledged the value of hair mercury levels as a maternal and infant marker for exposure to neuro-toxic methyl-mercury from fish.
Hair element analysis is a valuable and inexpensive screen for physiological excess, deficiency or mal-distribution of elements. It should not be considered a stand-alone diagnostic test for essential element function, and should be used in conjunction with patient symptoms and other laboratory tests in the XBioLife Genesis and LIFE Solution programs.
Is This You?
If anyone has wondered about any of the above questions before, call us ! Our comprehensive and total wellness programs are available complete with mentoring to take the guess work out of your health care. This HTMA toxicity and nutrient profile module is also available as a standalone test. Call us to learn how to future proof your wellness !
HTMA: The Long Answer
A more detailed introduction
Hair tissue mineral analysis is unique in that it inexpensively provides information directly about cellular activity, which is the main site of nutritional metabolism. As important as vitamins are, they can do nothing for the body without proper mineral intake. Vitamins cannot function and are unable to be assimilated without the aid of minerals. Though the body can synthesize some vitamins, it cannot manufacture a single mineral.
Find out if you have toxic elements like Antimony, Aluminum, Arsenic, Beryllium, Cadmium, Lead, Nickel, Mercury, Strontium, Thallium, Tin and others in your system.
T.M.A. Hair Analysis is a valid method of screening, which measures the mineral content and heavy metal (toxicity) of the body’s tissue. If a mineral deficiency or toxicity excess exists in the hair, it usually indicates deficiencies or excesses within the body.
Hair is used as one of the tissues of choice by the US Environmental Protection agency in determining toxic metal exposure with the following summary: “The milk, urine, salvia and sweat measure the component that is absorbed or excreted. The blood measures the component absorbed and temporarily in circulation before excretion and/ or storage. The hair , nails and teeth are tissues in which trace minerals are sequestered and/or stored.
Since the structure of hair remains unchanged , the minerals are fixed in the hair. The levels in hair are not subject to change once that portion of hair has grown, so the analysis accurately provides concentrations of minerals that have accumulated in the hair tissue over the hair growth period, approximately the last 3 months.
Mineral content of the hair reflects the mineral content of the body’s tissues. Human head hair is a recording filament that can reflect metabolic changes of many elements over long periods of time and therefore can furnish a print out of post nutritional events.
In most cases, identification of the deficiency or excess can be corrected by diet changes, work practice changes, or by supplementation appropriate for your requirements.
Common causes of mineral imbalance or deficiency
Improper diet, excessive intake of refined carbohydrates or sugars, strict vegetarian diet, other exclusive diet, work conditions (toxic elements), medication, stress, taking supplements, vitamins, minerals not compatible with your body chemistry, birth control pills can all cause mineral imbalance or deficiency.
Even if you are not experiencing a problem, abnormal changes in body chemistry and nutritional deficiencies may result in early, subtle changes in your body such as: weight gain (metabolism), white spots in fingernails (can indicate a possible zinc deficiency), longitudinal ridging in nails (can indicate a iron deficiency), brittle fingernails, toenails and hair (possible calcium, silica and or copper imbalance), stretch marks (possible zinc deficiency), poor food taste (zinc deficiency).
All of the above indicators and many more are generally signs of metabolic disturbances that can be detected in early tissue mineral analysis.
From adolescence through adulthood the average person is continually exposed to a variety of toxic metal sources through contamination from soil and foods, the environment, and topical application such as hair dyes, paint, ingestion from burnt fuels (lead), cigarette smoke (cadmium), hydrogenated oils (nickel), antiperspirants, soft drink and beer cans (aluminium), dental amalgams (mercury and cadmium), copper and aluminium cookware, insect repellent, water, work environment and industrial exposure. These are just some of the sources which can contribute to toxic metal exposure.
If you are exposed to a hazardous / toxic substance several factors will determine whether harmful effects will occur and what the type and severity of those health effects will be.
Factors include the dose, duration, the route or pathway by which you are exposed (breathing, eating, drinking or skin contact), the other chemicals to which you are exposed, and your individual characteristics such as age, sex, nutritional status, family traits, lifestyle and state of health.
How is your Hair analysed?
Once your sample has arrived it is weighed and trimmed, then digested in a specific reagent to break down the hair structure. The sample is then aspirated into a highly sophisticated scientific instrument (Inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectrophotometer).
An informative twelve page report is forwarded to you or to the practitioner in an easy to read graph style format showing various levels of nutrient or toxin imbalance in parts per million (PPM). This will show how your value relates to the normal or ideal reference range.